United Kingdom vehicle sales extend slump: industry body

United Kingdom vehicle sales extend slump: industry body

Andrew Cummings
December 5, 2017

Fleet sales traditionally make up more than half of new auto sales.

Alex Buttle, director of vehicle website motorway.co.uk, said: "The flight from diesel has been so severe over the past few months that total sales figures are nearly meaningless as a point of reference for the health of the auto industry".

"An eighth month of decline in the new auto market is a major concern, with falling business and consumer confidence exacerbated by ongoing anti-diesel messages from government", said Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the industry trade body.

According to data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the number of new vehicle registrations fell 11.2% year-on-year to 163,541 last month, while business auto registrations fell by over 33%.

'However, whilst the new vehicle market is slowing, there remains great opportunity within the used auto market - a market that is three times larger than that of the new vehicle market. Petrol cars also saw a gain, though of a more modest 5.0%.

The SMMT said the figures reflected Government policy, which includes the ambition of banning the sale of new all petrol and diesel engine cars by 2040.

'The decision to increase the first-year VED rate on diesels that don't meet the standards for next-generation clean diesels puts even more pressure on consumers and manufacturers in a year that has already dented the market.

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, said: 'The new auto market is now year-to-date five per cent down on last year, in line with initial forecasts.

New auto registrations continue to fall in the United Kingdom, with figures for November 2017 showing an 11% drop, with diesels sales down 31%.

RAC Cars spokesman Rod Dennis said: 'From an air quality perspective, these latest figures are a mixed bag.

It does look like diesel sales are in terminal decline, and with the Chancellor increasing tax on new diesels in the budget that looks set to continue.

Sales to private owners were...

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